Buckinghamshire, was we know, is a lovely place to live, and so too thought these illustrious women...
The gothic classic Frankenstein was written by Mary Shelley in her Marlow stomping ground of Albion House where she lived with her poet husband, Percy Shelley. For a unique and entertaining tour around Marlow learning all about the Shelleys, book a slot with Mary Does Marlow, complete with costumed guide.
Old Thatch near Bourne End was the residence of Enid Blyton from 1929 until she moved with her family to Green Hedges in Beaconsfield in 1938. A prolific writer of children's books since the 1930s, she has sold more than 600 million copies. Her books continue to be popular despite their somewhat dated views, and have a perfect mix of adventure, magic and quintessential British-ness.
Founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale stayed at Claydon House near Buckingham after the Crimean War. Florence's sister was married to Harry Verney of Claydon and she would visit and recuperate at this lovely country house, away from the horrors of war, no doubt enjoying the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. The house is now open to the public where you can learn more about Florence Nightingale, and you can also visit Claydon Courtyard to browse the independent retailers and enjoy refreshments at the Phoenix Kitchen.
Amy Johnson’s house, Monks Staithe, is opposite Princes Risborough's Manor House. This pretty 17th Century half-timbered house has a supposed connection with nearby Notley Abbey (where Sir Lawrence Oliver and Vivien Leigh lived in the 1940s) and it was briefly occupied by the famous aviatrix of the 1930’s.
The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park
Bound by oath to never speak about their work, many women at Bletchley Park made huge contributions to the intelligence effort. Betty Webb spent 4 years at the codebreaking centre and had various roles, including intercepting German police messages which revealed the beginning of the Holocaust. Joyce Aylard operated the Bombe machine designed by Alan Turing to crack the Enigma Code. The sad thing for these women and the others who worked there was that their families died without ever knowing what they achieved in the War.
Nancy Astor was the first seated female Member of Parliament, serving from 1919 to 1945. On marrying Lord Waldorf Astor, they were gifted the lavish Cliveden House and estate in Buckinghamshire by Lord Astor's father as a wedding gift. On the banks of the river Thames, Cliveden is now a 5 star luxury hotel and still a favourite of the rich and famous - Megan Markle chose to stay there the night before her wedding to Prince Harry. The extensive grounds are owned by the National Trust and make for a lovely day out.
As a Lioness playing football for England, Ellen White from Aylesbury has become one of the country's most influencial footballers, inspiring girls and boys alike. In the 2019 Football World Cup, she became England's all-time top scorer in the tournament's history, and was part of the side that went on to win the SheBelieves Cup later that year.
Actress, comedian, singer, writer, director and producer, Tracy Ullman was the first woman to have a sketch show in both the UK and the USA (where her show launched The Simpsons). She was born in Slough, which at that time was in Buckinghamshire but is now considered Berkshire, so we're happy to claim this highly talented women as one of our own!